Clifford Sobel

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Clifford M. Sobel, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil

Clifford M. Sobel (born 1949, to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, NY[1]) is a U.S. diplomat and former ambassador. Most recently, he served as the United States Ambassador to Brazil. He was nominated for the post by President Bush on May 23, 2006, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 29, 2006, and sworn in by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on July 20, 2006. He presented his credentials to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry on August 2, 2006. Ambassador Sobel is the 53rd Chief of Mission to Brazil. He resigned as Ambassador in August 2009.

From 2001-2005, Sobel was the 62nd Ambassador of the United States to the Netherlands. President George W. Bush nominated him on July 3, 2001 and he was sworn in by Secretary of State Colin Powell on November 8, 2001. On December 5, 2001, he presented his credentials to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix.


Sobel first attended the University of Vermont, and in 1972, he graduated with honors from New York University's School of Commerce with the Bachelor of Science degree in management.[citation needed] In 1999, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Kean University in recognition of his public service contribution.[citation needed]

Business career[edit]

During the 1970s and 1980s, he founded several companies that designed, manufactured, and imported fixtures for the setup of retail stores. These companies became some of the fastest growing and most innovative in the industry, and were awarded the Sears Chairman's Award, and numerous design awards under Sobel's management. From 1985–1991 he was a founder and board member of Norcrown Bank. He was also the Chairman and President of SJJ Investment Corporation and CMS Realty Company. He then was appointed Chairman of Net2Phone, a software/services company whose principal line of business is SIP-based and PacketCable-based VoIP.

Public appointments[edit]

By Presidential appointment Sobel served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington D.C. between 1994 through 1998. From 1987-1989, he was appointed to the U.S. Government Industry Sector International Trade Board. He was on the advisory boards of Empower America and the Republican Leadership Council, and served on the board and as a member of the policy committee of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). In 1995, he was asked to testify before Congress on fast-track international trade treaties, and from 1993 to 1997, he served as a Secretary of Defense appointment to the Board of Visitors of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

President George W. Bush appointed Sobel to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.[2]

Republican Party work[edit]

He was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1996 and in 2000, and served on the Platform Committee and the Sub-Committee on Foreign Policy in 2000. He served as the New Jersey financial chairman of the primary and presidential campaigns for then-Governor George W. Bush. In 1998, he accompanied Governor Bush on a fact-finding mission to Israel. The Sobel Family Foundation, led by wife Barbara Sobel, a Bush 2000 Pioneer and a 2004 Ranger, gave $81,000 to GOP federal candidates and parties in the 2004 elections.

Think tanks[edit]

He was on the board of the Lexington Institute. Prior to this he served as Chairman of the Board Overseer of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution.


  1. ^ Clifford Sobel
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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Cynthia Schneider
62nd U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Roland Arnall
Preceded by
John J. Danilovich
U.S. Ambassador to Brazil
2006 - 2009
Succeeded by
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.